Jürgen Harder

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Jürgen Harder
Born 13 June 1918
Swinemünde in Pomerania
Died 17 February 1945 (1945-02-18) (aged 26)
near Strausberg, Germany
Buried at Cemetery St. Marien in Strausberg
Allegiance  Nazi Germany
Service/branch Luftwaffe
Years of service 1939–1945
Rank Major
Unit JG 53
Commands held JG 11
Battles/wars World War II
Awards Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross with Oak Leaves
Relations Harro Harder

Jürgen Harder (13 June 1918 – 17 February 1945) was a German Luftwaffe fighter ace and recipient of the Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross with Oak Leaves (German: Ritterkreuz des Eisernen Kreuzes mit Eichenlaub) during World War II. The Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross and its higher grade Oak Leaves was awarded to recognise extreme battlefield bravery or successful military leadership. Harder claimed 64 aircraft shot down in approximately 500 missions. Among these 64 aerial victories are 47 victories, including 9 four-engine bombers, achieved over western flown aircraft.

Career[edit]

On 25 April 1944 Harder attacked a four-engined bomber formation and shot one of the down and rammed another thereby claiming his aerial victories number 49 and 50.[1]

Harder was killed in an aircraft crash, flying a Messerschmitt Bf 109 G-14 Werk.Nr. 784 738 (factory number) following engine failure on 17 February 1945. Technical experts that analysed the wreckage came to the conclusion that the piston of cylinder 12 had penetrated the engine block. Escaping toxic fumes thus intoxicated Harder who then lost control of the aircraft.

His older brother Harro with eleven credited aerial victories was one of the most successful German fighter pilots of Spanish Civil War. Flying with the III./Jagdgeschwader 53 (JG 53), he was killed in action on 12 August 1940 at the channel front. His brother Rolf was killed in 1943 in Russia on the Eastern front.[2]

Awards[edit]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ According to Scherzer as Oberleutnant and Staffelführer in the III./Jagdgeschwader 53.[4]

References[edit]

Citations
  1. ^ Michulec 2002, p. 72.
  2. ^ a b Obermaier 1989, p. 72.
  3. ^ Fellgiebel 2000, p. 213.
  4. ^ a b Scherzer 2007, p. 366.
  5. ^ Fellgiebel 2000, p. 96.
Bibliography
  • Fellgiebel, Walther-Peer (2000). Die Träger des Ritterkreuzes des Eisernen Kreuzes 1939–1945 – Die Inhaber der höchsten Auszeichnung des Zweiten Weltkrieges aller Wehrmachtsteile [The Bearers of the Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross 1939–1945 — The Owners of the Highest Award of the Second World War of all Wehrmacht Branches] (in German). Friedberg, Germany: Podzun-Pallas. ISBN 978-3-7909-0284-6. 
  • Michulec, Robert (2002). Luftwaffe at War/Luftwaffe Aces of the Western Front. London: Greenhill Books. ISBN 1-85367-486-9.
  • Obermaier, Ernst (1989). Die Ritterkreuzträger der Luftwaffe Jagdflieger 1939 – 1945 [The Knight's Cross Bearers of the Luftwaffe Fighter Force 1941 – 1945] (in German). Mainz, Germany: Verlag Dieter Hoffmann. ISBN 978-3-87341-065-7. 
  • Scherzer, Veit (2007). Die Ritterkreuzträger 1939–1945 Die Inhaber des Ritterkreuzes des Eisernen Kreuzes 1939 von Heer, Luftwaffe, Kriegsmarine, Waffen-SS, Volkssturm sowie mit Deutschland verbündeter Streitkräfte nach den Unterlagen des Bundesarchives [The Knight's Cross Bearers 1939–1945 The Holders of the Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross 1939 by Army, Air Force, Navy, Waffen-SS, Volkssturm and Allied Forces with Germany According to the Documents of the Federal Archives] (in German). Jena, Germany: Scherzers Miltaer-Verlag. ISBN 978-3-938845-17-2. 
  • Thomas, Franz (1997). Die Eichenlaubträger 1939–1945 Band 1: A–K [The Oak Leaves Bearers 1939–1945 Volume 1: A–K] (in German). Osnabrück, Germany: Biblio-Verlag. ISBN 978-3-7648-2299-6. 

External links[edit]

Military offices
Preceded by
Major Günther Specht
Commander of Jagdgeschwader 11
January 1945 – 17 February 1945
Succeeded by
Major Anton Hackl